Dumbo – The Elephant Who Saved an Empire

Today, I return to the Fastpass To History link-up hosted by Kimberly at The Frontierland Station.  This link-up allows bloggers to go back into Disney’s past.  I like to use this link-up to explore the movies of Disney.  I’m going to take a look at Dumbo – the elephant who saved the Disney empire.  Disney was in rough shape after Pinocchio and Fantasia both failed at the box office.  It wasn’t because they were bad movies but it was because of World War II.

photo courtesy of filmexperience
photo courtesy of filmexperience

Disney needed a movie that was inexpensive to make and be successful so they could balance the books.  Insert the story of a big-eared elephant who had a dream that he could fly.  Dumbo was a children’s story that was written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl in a format called a Roll-A-Book.  Disney bought the film rights to this story and gave the animators the direction to make the film short and make it inexpensively.  The studio needed revenue.

photo courtesy of scienceblogs
photo courtesy of scienceblogs

The animators originally wanted to make a series of shorts involving Dumbo.  They decided to make one of Disney’s shortest movies instead.  Dumbo is only 64 minutes long.  The movie was made for only $950,000 and made $1.6 million dollars in its first run through the box office.  That $650,000 helped save Walt Disney Studios from going under and allowed it took make and distribute future films.

The empire may have started with a mouse but it was saved by an elephant.

Storybook Circus #2

 

Thanks for reading!

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